Changes in urine albumin to creatinine ratio with the initiation of hydroxyurea therapy among children and adolescents with sickle cell disease

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Renal damage is a progressive complication of sickle cell disease (SCD) that begins in childhood and may progress to renal failure and early mortality in 12% of adults with hemoglobin SS (HbSS) SCD. Early sickle nephropathy is characterized by hyperfiltration and microalbuminuria; therefore, urine albumin to creatinine ratio (ACR) is an effective screening tool for its detection.


This study investigated the effect of hydroxyurea (HU) therapy on urine ACR levels among children with SCD. A retrospective review was conducted to identify all patients with HbSS or HbSβ0 thalassemia of age 7–18 years who began HU therapy in 2011–2013; a control group of patients not on HU were matched by age and baseline hemoglobin. All urine ACR measurements ≤24 months prior to and ≥24 months after HU initiation were recorded.


There were 63 eligible patients on HU and 13 (25%) with albuminuria prior to HU initiation. Among those with baseline albuminuria, the median ACR was 96 mg/g prior to HU, 39 mg/g at 1 year (P = 0.02), and 25 mg/g at 2 years (P = 0.03). Albuminuria normalized in 37.5% (6/16) after 1 year and 61% (8/13) after 2 years of HU therapy. Among those without albuminuria prior to HU, 13% (6/47) developed albuminuria during HU therapy. Sixteen percent (13/80) of control patients had albuminuria in the beginning of study period, which normalized in 15% (two of 13) of patients at 1-year follow up.


Introduction of HU is associated with significant decreases in urine ACR in children with SCD and albuminuria.

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